Need Better Sleep? CBD Can Help You Get It

woman in gray tank top lying on bed

Do you feel like you need better sleep? Then you need this guide on how CBD can you help you sleep better!


by Laura Henry | Laura Henry is a writer and editor with a passion for alternative health products and practices. When they’re not outside with their rescue dog, they spend their time exploring local wellness/new age spaces and practicing yoga.

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Sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being. During this altered state of consciousness, the body and mind recharge so we can function with clarity and alertness while awake. 

Getting enough sleep not only supports healthy brain function, but also allows us to build up immunity and fight off diseases. Experts recommend we get seven to nine hours of sleep every night to support our mental and physical health. But for many people, this is easier said than done. 

Chronic sleep deprivation is a problem for over 70 million people across the United States alone. With so many people struggling to get enough sleep at night, many are now turning to supplements, medications, sleep coaches, and a wide array of tips and tricks to improve their sleep.

Among these options, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has become an increasingly popular strategy for improving sleep. Keep reading to learn more about CBD and how it is used to combat insomnia, chronic pain, and anxiety. 

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the naturally occurring chemicals, or cannabinoids, found in cannabis sativa plants. There are more than 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis plants that can bind to receptors in the central nervous system and interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system regulates various bodily functions, including emotions, pain, and sleep. 

Out of all the cannabinoids that come from cannabis plants—like marijuana and hemp—CBD and THC are by far the most well-known. THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in marijuana that causes psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a “high.” Instead, it relaxes the body, reduces pain and inflammation, and calms anxiety.

If you use cannabis products, you are more than likely getting some CBD, but the amount will depend on the specific strain you are using. CBD is typically sold where cannabis is legal. However, you can get CBD derived from hemp in countries where cannabis has not been legalized. Keep in mind that CBD is not regulated in the United States. Consequently, it is considered a supplement rather than a medication. 

How CBD Can Help With Sleep

Due to the growing popularity of CBD, many recent studies have investigated whether or not it actually helps people get better sleep. While this research is still in its infancy, some of the literature does suggest that CBD may help people sleep better by addressing specific mental and physical symptoms that cause sleeplessness. 

For example, a 2019 study investigated whether CBD could improve sleep and reduce anxiety in 72 subjects. The results found that 79% of the subjects experienced less anxiety, and 66% reported sleeping better. The evidence points towards CBD producing an overall calming effect in the central nervous system, ultimately resulting in better sleep.  

Another literature review conducted in 2018 reported growing evidence that CBD reduces pain in the body. The authors noted that reduced pain sensations might allow people living with chronic pain to experience better sleep. 

It is important to note that many studies cannot specifically explain why CBD use results in better sleep. Therefore, more research is needed before we can reach concrete conclusions.  

How to Take CBD for Sleep

CBD can be extracted from cannabis plants or produced synthetically in a lab. It is now sold in many different forms, including:

  • Oils and tinctures
  • Vape concentrates
  • Pills and capsules
  • Gummies and baked goods
  • Lotions, creams, and sprays

If you are thinking about using CBD to help you sleep, experts recommend you start with a low dose to ease you into the process. Then you can gradually increase your dosage until you find the right amount for you. 

Everyone has a unique physical and chemical makeup that will impact which dosage is right for them. With any CBD or marijuana dosing, it is important to determine the right therapeutic window where the benefits of using a given cannabinoid outweigh the potentially negative impacts of its side effects.

In general, it is recommended you take CBD one to two hours before bed to improve your sleep. When it comes to what CBD product you use, make sure to use products from reputable companies that are transparent about dosage and how their products are produced.

You can experiment with different forms of CBD, but keep in mind that there are health risks associated with various forms of CBD. For example, CBD vapes can cause harm to your respiratory system. 

Common Side Effects of CBD

In general, evidence suggests that CBD is safe to use. There have been no recorded cases of CBD overdoses, and experts say there is little to no risk of becoming addicted to CBD. Some reports have noted symptoms of mental sedation with CBD use, but that is usually tied to incorrect dosage. Some possible side effects of using CBD products include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Changes in appetite

When using the correct dose, most people do not report negative side effects with CBD use. However, remember that the long-term effects of CBD on the body are still not well understood. More scientific research is needed to better understand how consistent CBD use impacts the body.

Main Takeaways 

If you are struggling with insomnia or other sleep-related issues, you should speak with your doctor about what treatment options are best for you. They may offer you general tips on health and wellness before recommending sleep aids or supplements.

For people looking for a safe alternative to prescription sleep medications, CBD is a good natural option. It appears to positively impact people’s sleeping habits by reducing anxiety and sensations of pain in the body. Still, more research is needed to fully understand why and how CBD impacts our sleep.


References

Shannon, Scott, et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/. 

Stahl, Stephanie. “70 Million Americans Suffer from Chronic Sleep Deprivation, CDC Says.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 14 Oct. 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/news/70-million-americans-suffer-from-chronic-sleep-deprivation-cdc-says/. 

Vučković, Sonja, et al. “Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights from Old Molecules.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Nov. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277878/. 


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